- Mel Kiper Jr., Football analyst
You have to be a pretty special talent to be where Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter finds himself. Now up to No. 5 on my Big Board, Hunter is in that position despite two years where he really hasn't had the opportunity to show what he's capable of. Hunter was limited to only 33 total catches over his first two years in Knoxville because of injuries, but off to a great start in 2012, he's once again giving us all a glimpse of what he's capable of. While there's plenty left to see, with health certainly a considerable question going forward, Hunter is a gamebreaker when right, and with strong-armed Tyler Bray throwing the ball, his combination of size, speed and pass-catching talent can be on full display.
Also back on the board is an SEC talent who could cross paths with Hunter. Johnthan Banks is another big, rangy defensive back capable of defending receivers of great size that dot college and NFL rosters. Regarding comments you'll see week to week: The scouting perspective remains similar week to week for people catching up, but I'll note matchup highlights. If there's a player you don't see here, but want feedback on, I find some time to respond on Twitter. Hit me @MelKiperESPN. As always, juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.
Will be tested a little more against Stanford. Working with great talent, Barkley is piling up totals, but that's a two-way street. Won't wow evaluators with physical skills, but sound across the board: ball-placement, timing, use of his eyes, poise, leadership skills and a ton of experience. Has improved every year.
LAST WEEK: 1 | PLAYER CARD
Jarvis Jones *
Simply dominated Missouri, showing off the full range. An explosive, relentless edge rusher, he profiles as a 3-4 OLB. Jones has a quick first step and violent hands, tackles well and closes fast. Improved against the run, and he can really cover, which many don't know. LAST WEEK: 2 | PLAYER CARD
Barkevious Mingo *
Mingo uses exceptional length and a lightning first step to turn the corner. Pass-rush skills are there, but could diversify. Still learning concepts after late start in football, but reads game well given lack of experience.
LAST WEEK: 3 | PLAYER CARD
Sam Montgomery *
Montgomery has added some size and could be considered a fit in almost any system; and his frame can handle it if he adds more. Athleticism and pass-rush skills are there, and he really holds up against the run. Max-effort player, natural athlete, instinctive rusher. Still a lot of projection left.
LAST WEEK: 4 | PLAYER CARD
Justin Hunter *
Overshadowed by his teammate against N.C. State, but Hunter is dangerous. Stats haven't done him justice. Most of 2011 was wiped out by injury. Blazing speed, but uses good technique and gets in and out of breaks. Good hands, a major threat down the field.
LAST WEEK: 9 | PLAYER CARD
After a hot start, Matt Barkley hasn't moved on the Big Board, but other top players have seen their stock shift. Justin Hunter rises this week as the top wide receiver in the mix based on my current ratings.